3 Tips for Conducting Job Interviews Remotely

3 Tips for Conducting Job Interviews Remotely

Treat It Like Any Other Job Interview

Professional lives and business operations are drastically changing and adapting in unprecedented ways in light of the current pandemic. For many companies, there are still targets to meet and deliverables to accomplish. For some, it is still business as “usual,” which means they are continuing to expand and hire. Big companies like LinkedIn and Google led the way in this movement, sending out notices informing job candidates that interviews would either be conducted virtually or delayed until further notice.

Virtual communication platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams have become essential in ensuring a semblance of continuity during the recruitment process. Now, you may not hear an interviewee ask, “How Long is This Gonna Take?” among other questions that arise in-person. Nevertheless, you should still prepare sufficiently to ensure an effective and successful interview.

1. Set the stage as you normally would

The only difference between a virtual interview and an in-person interview is the presence of a screen mediating contact. Make sure that all candidates have clear instructions about the equipment and tools they will be needing. Set the stage as you normally would in-person. Experts from Glassdoor and Modern Hire advise interviewers to retain a sense of formality. You should do the necessary preparations and familiarize yourself with the candidate’s profile. Remove all distractions – mute your phone, close unnecessary tabs, and put your dog in the other room so you can give your undivided attention and respect to your interviewee. This is especially important in making sure that communication remains clear throughout the duration of the interview.

2. Address the elephant in the room

Picture of an Elephant in a room by the window.

At the start of the interview, break the ice by addressing the elephant in the room. Tell the job candidate that your company is adjusting to a new dynamic of working remotely and ask if they have prior experience with this setup. Develop the question further by asking how they have succeeded at it or what they would do to prepare to adjust to this environment as a first-timer. Having this sort of engagement is important in emphasizing that your company cares about workplace wellness. Pain Free Working defines this as knowing what employees really want – what they need to ‘show up’ and perform their jobs as best as they can. At a time of so much ambiguity, it’s best to control what you can early in the interview process.

#3: Stick to the plan

HR and management consultant Susan M. Heathfield of The Balance Careers says that if you have a team of interviewers, you should discuss a uniform approach beforehand, to ensure that you follow the same protocol and meet the same standards. Come up with a general questionnaire as this will also help you stay on track, should there be any glitches or hiccups that may occur during a virtual interview. This could also be your objective guide for rating answers, so that you can shift your attention to more subjective questions regarding specific roles afterwards.

Think of the screen not as a barrier, but as a conduit for recruiting top-grade talent. With the right strategies, communication tools, and plan in place, you can have a sense of certainty with your interviews in the midst of all the chaos.


Allen Plunkett, President & CEO of Phoenix Staff


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